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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Fall 2004

AMS 315 • You Can't Go Home Again: Latin American Exiles in the United States-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

America is the “land of opportunity,” attracting many immigrants through its promise of a better life. However, for many people, the journey to the United States is not always a willing one. For political, economic, or cultural reasons, people have been forced to leave their homeland. Many come to the United States not for opportunity, but for sanctuary. For these forced immigrants, the United States becomes a way station, rather than a place to call “home.” Many of these exiles maintain close ties to their countries of origin, living in hopes of their ability to return. Others believe repatriation is hopeless, but never consent to becoming “American.” And still others seek to assimilate, but persistently grapple with a sense of loss for the country they once knew, both for themselves and subsequent generations. The children of exiles, growing up in the shadow of their family’s loss, grapple with the relationship between the United States in which they live and the country for which they have learned to mourn. As a result, the political and cultural impact of exile persists long after the physical displacement. This class will explore the literature and art of Latin American exile communities in the United States over the course of the twentieth century. Using memoirs, letters, fiction, theater, art, and film, we will explore the different reasons for exile – political, economic, cultural – and the impact of these communities on American culture. What influence do the exiles exert on American foreign policy? When does an exile stop being an exile? What does it mean to physically live in the United States, but mentally belong to a remembered or imagined country of the past? We will examine specific historical moments critical in the formation of exile communities, including the Spanish American War, the Mexican Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, the “dirty wars” of South America, and the civil wars in Central America. In looking at these various international events, we will more effectively explore changes at home – specifically, changes in immigration; shifts in U.S. foreign policy; international labor organizing; acts of political dissidence in the United States; the evolution of the sanctuary movement and human rights laws; the discourse of patriotism and citizenship; and the continuing presence of the past, both nostalgic and traumatic, in American life.


Readings may include: Marjorie Agosin, selected writings on Argentina Pedro Albizu Campos, selected writings on Puerto Rico Julia Alvarez, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent and/or In the Time of the Butterflies (Dominican Republic) Claribel Alegria, selected writings on El Salvador and Nicaragua Isabel Allende, My Invented Country: A Nostalgic Journey Through Chile Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls (Cuba) Marc Cooper, Pinochet and Me: A Chilean Anti-Memoir Edwidge Danticat, Krik Krak (Haiti) Ariel Dorfman, Heading South, Looking North: A Bilingual Journey (Chile and Argentina) Roberto Fernandez, Raining Backwards (Cuba) Ingrid Fey and Karen Racine, eds., Strange Pilgrimages: Exile, Travel, and National Identity in Latin America, 1800-1900s. Ricardo Flores Magon, selected letters (Mexico) Shifra Goldman, selected writings on artists in exile Kirsten Silva Gruesz, Ambassadors of Culture: The Transamerican Origins of Latino Writing Jaime Manrique, Colombian Gold or Eminent Maricones: Arenas, Lorca, Puig, and Me (Colombia) Jose Martí, selected writings (Cuba) Achy Obejas, Memory Mambo and/or We Came All the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This Alicia Partnoy, You Can’t Drown the Fire: Latin American Women Writing in Exile and/or The Little School: Tales of Disappearance & Survival in Argentina Silvana Paternostro, In the Land of God and Man: A Latin Woman’s Journey Thomas C. Wright, ed., Flight from Chile: Voices of Exile Excerpts from The Latin American Spirit: Art and Artists in the United States, 1920-1970 (Catalogue) Artists may include: David Alfaro Siqueíros (Mexico) Maria Brito (Cuba) Maria Castagliola (Cuba) René Castro (Chile) Juan Downey (Chile) Rupert Garcia (American) Alfredo Jaar (Chile) Ana Mendieta (Cuba) Catalina Parra (Chile) Juan Sanchez (Puerto Rico) Films: Discovering Dominga (2003) The Super (1979) Before Night Falls (2001)


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